Rock Island High School seniors are getting valuable experience through apprenticeships around the Quad Cities. 

Our Quad CIties News spoke with a few of those senior students about their time with the apprenticeship programs at places like McLaughlin Body and John Deere.

“They have been great teachers and really great guys,” Rock Island senior David Axnix said. “They’ve taught me everything that they’ve known. Everything that I’ve known and everything that I have done up to this point could not have been done without them.” 

These Rocky seniors spend half of their day in school and the other half at apprenticeships that the school has helped them find. 

“People always think that it’s just going in there, getting to work and getting some welds in,” Rock Island senior Riley Porter said. “You’re actually learning about what the company does, seeing how it runs, sometimes  job shadowing and seeing other workers from the actual factory going in.” 

Students are getting real-world experience with the companies.

“They get to see what it’s like in the shop, what kind of work they’re going to be doing,” Rock Island teacher Wade Weber said. “Gets them a head start, so they know what types of welds they’re going to be able to do and practice. And then they can make a decision from there, ‘Is this what I really want? or do I need to do something different?’” 

The welding class at school helps them prepare for their apprenticeship – and their future. 

“Here at school, we learn extra techniques that we do,” Rock Island senior Michael Brose. “And when we go to work, we practice what we need to do, practice what welds we need to do on the floor.” 

Weber said the program gives the kids opportunities to improve their skills. 

“I can relate to these students because I’m a hands-on person myself,” Weber said. “I like to do things outside, I don’t like to do papers, and assignments, I like to build things with my hands so I do know how to relate to them.”